2016 has just begun, and marketers across the country will need to evaluate their plans for the year in context with new customer trends in order to stay competitive and relevant. As always, marketers must stay in the loop and aware of their audience. By understanding the needs and demands of their target audience and buyers, marketers have a leg up in planning marketing campaigns and initiatives this year. However, there are big changes that have happened recently which affect how buyers make purchases. More than ever before, buyers are aware. They are aware because they are more informed about products and services, and no longer rely as heavily on the business itself to provide information about their products. Buyers have access to a plethora of information right at their fingertips. With the click of a button, buyers can easily gain truckloads of data about a company that they never would have had access to before. As a result, companies have less control over a customer's decision. In the past, potential clients would rely on the company who sold the product to inform and teach them about their product. For the company this was good -they had full control over the sale process and had a strong influence over the customer's decision. For the customer, however, this was bad -they had no choice but to put their trust in the company they were buying from, who clearly had a biased agenda. The good news for buyers is that information about companies'products and services are now available online through multiple channels and media sources. Rather than picking up the phone and talking with a company about their own services, customers are able to go online and find much more informative, unbiased data. Customers have access to reviews, rankings, rating systems, and other objective assessments of products and services that they can get before they even make first contact with the company they are buying from. Thus, buyers are smarter and more educated by the time they reach a sales person. Understanding this new phenomena, there are a few ways to react.

1. YouTube Ads will be crucial

In 2016, the rise in AdTech is only one of the many changes that marketers can expect to see. Given that customers soak up all their information and perspective online, it is imperative that your company has a prevalent and positive reputation across all digital channels. Your web page, landing pages, social media pages, blogs, and Youtube Channels need to display promotional information and do so in an attractive manner. If your customers are going to be there, just make sure that you get there first. The more positive attention you can get across channels online, the more leads you will be able to convert into paying customers. Website views, YouTube views and other forms of online attention will bode very positively for your lead flow and new client acquisition. YouTube and other forms of video ads will be very powerful. Advertising platforms like Twitter, Bing, and Facebook offer other explosive outlets for marketers to take advantage of. Social media marketing companies like Devumi have realized the niche opportunities in front of them and are succeeding in taking away money from the larger advertising sites. Now that Google owns YouTube, there are endless opportunities for marketers. Along with YouTube, social media marketing will also change drastically in 2016. In-the-moment updates and media releases will develop as a dominant form of online marketing, and these will work directly with buy-now buttons. The SEO landscape will become different as b2b and b2c companies change their marketing campaigns.

2. Video content is more powerful than before

People have shorter attention spans today than they used to have. Content is everywhere, and people's attentions are now divided between eight different things at once. To catch someone's attention for the duration of a commercial is no longer a simple task; it requires engaging content that is creative enough to maintain the focus of viewers. People want engaging content. Virtual reality, video-based ads, and forms of interactive ads will be influencial in 2015. These are just some of the marketing trends that will take command of 2016. Being on top of the latest forms of marketing and advertising will be critical for marketers who want to succeed. While the industry is often unpredictable, staying updated on the modern trends is necessary. In 2016, new software, new hardware, and many new companies will cause a wave of changes in the industry. Marketers that can react quickly will be the ones who succeed. Marketers must also pay attention to how customer interests change and develop in 2016. To adapt effectively marketers must always have a keen and thorough understand of the customer thought process and buying the process. Knowing the customer will give marketers a serious competitive edge.

3. New Forms of Media Will take Precedence

New technology brings an era of new forms of marketing and advertising. Mobile will be an increasingly powerful trend in 2016. Last year, Google announced that mobile traffic was greater than desktop traffic in a dozen individual companies. Google also released "Mobilegeddon,"an algorithm update to remove sites which are not optimized for the mobile interface. People are spending more time on their phone than they are spending on their computer or laptop. For marketers, this means that their strategies and campaigns must be geared for online optimization. Virtual reality is another growing trend marketers are using to captivate viewers. In the next few years, dozens of new virtual reality devices will be released. From video games, to medical devices, to devices like Oculus Rift, virtual reality will make its name in 2016. Many of the most hyped virtual reality devices will be released in the first part of 2016. These technologies introduce a new era of digital advertising. In doing so, they will also integrate into social media platforms, direct messaging, and video and media channels. Ultimately, if marketers can make sure to stay up to late with the latest trends in technology, and also in the loop with consumer and buyer patterns, they will be able to effective adjust their strategies to match the growing and changing demands of their target consumers.